As a wise poet once said, “Cash rules everything around me/C.R.E.A.M. get the money/dolla dolla bill y’aaaaaall.”
The men of Wu-Tang Clan aren’t alone. A recent Times Higher Education story revealed that cash rules everything around Gators, too: UF was ranked 49 out of the top 100 universities that produce the most millionaires worldwide. In addition to being the only Florida school to make the list, UF beat out the University of Notre Dame, Rutgers University and Brown University.
It’s no surprise UF ranked higher than some smaller liberal arts colleges. The Spear’s research found that engineering degrees produce the most millionaires, followed by MBAs, law degrees, accounting degrees and financial degrees. This is to be expected. It’s no secret that degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics — STEM fields — almost always translate into high-paying careers. The demand is consistent: Obviously, we’ll always need engineers to build our roads, cars and spaceships. We need doctors, IT professionals, lawyers, business owners, financial advisers and scientists. The ROI, or return on investment, of a STEM degree is much higher compared to one in, say, journalism.
Although UF’s high ranking on the list is good news for engineers — and lawyers and scientists and technology wizards and business owners — it might stir up old debates on a state level when the time comes for Rick Scott to make decisions about higher-education funding. Remember in 2011 when he said he wanted to shift more money into STEM departments and away from liberal arts disciplines?
“Is it a vital interest of the state to have more anthropologists? I don’t think so,” Scott said, according to Huffington Post Politics. “If I’m going to take money from a citizen to put into education then I’m going to take that money to create jobs. So I want that money to go to degrees where people can get jobs in this state.”
The statement seemed to be a shot at his daughter, who holds an undergraduate degree in anthropology from the College of William & Mary.
It’s an age-old argument: The value of a STEM degree versus the value of a humanities degree — or a communications degree, for that matter. We can discuss at length how STEM majors and humanities majors have a symbiotic relationship, but the crux of the argument is in how the value of each degree is measured. Engineers obviously make a lot of money, lawyers make a lot of money, doctors make a lot of money, and investment bankers earn high salaries. Teachers, reporters, social workers and HR professionals earn low salaries.
We all know money is the most common and accessible measure of success, and this new ranking provides politicians like Rick Scott more ammunition toward pulling funding from humanities in favor of science and math.
A version of this editorial ran on page 6 on 11/14/2013 under the headline "Gimme the loot: New ranking should make humanities majors uneasy"